Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mount Everest

It's no surprise that St. George is a hilly course. Everyone is talking about it and most are freaking out. I was peer pressured into signing up for this race...before looking at the course profile. 5700ft on the bike + 2200 on the run = almost 8000 ft of elevation gain over the duration of this Ironman. After calming down from the hype I knew I'd be putting in some serious time in the hills of San Diego. This is how serious it's become:

First off, a little history: Alongside my triathlon hobby I am also a rock climber. I was introduced to the sport by Kyle, back in 2006 when we both worked at a summer camp in Maine.Here we are with our color war shields. We were assigned to opposing teams because of an unwritten camp policy on couples. I was on the green team (Green Revolution) and he was with White Ice; I won. :) I continued climbing when I moved back to Minnesota and met some awesome people at Vertical Endeavors. I was lucky enough to be mentored through the sport and went on some amazing trips across North America. I moved to San Diego with great intentions of climbing, but I couldn't get into the gym scene here and didn't have a steady partner...and I also found triathlon. I'm not as strong as I used to be which in turn makes me a more timid climber nowadays. So that's the history.

When I tell people I climb, the most common first question is, "Are you going to climb Mt. Everest someday?" And always, the answer is no. There are many forms of climbing. I'm not into alpine climbing for these reasons and many more: cold, expensive, long days of hiking, altitude, rain, snow, storms, frostbite, sickness, fake food, winter camping, long hard (epic) adventures, and oh yeah it's cold. I was a weekend warrior. I like bolted sport climbing. I like to climb in a tanktop and capris. I like easy approaches. I like when my arms get "pumped." I love the balance it brought to my life. Learning to be graceful is what I miss the most.

But I digress. What does this have to do with St. George?

Well besides the fact that when you are a triathlete, everyone asks "Are you going to do Kona?" which resounds the same annoyance ("No, my goal is to finish this one"), I've climbed Mt. Everest by foot and bike. I have gained over 30,000 ft of elevation during this month alone. (I love Garmin.) Since day 1 with Brian, I've climbed Everest three times. (And that doesn't include the snowboard trip to Mt. High).

I've braved the storms.
I've camped at a race.
I've had long days.
I've spent too much on fake food.
I've gone adventuring.
I've ran and rode through rain.
I haven't worn a tanktop.
I am not graceful.
This is not an easy approach.

But this is the approach I'm taking to survive IMSG. Really looking forward to my long run tomorrow. On the Mountain of Soledad. 2 random loops. 17.5 miles. 2000+ ft elevation gain. 1/15th the size of Everest. Then the 102 mile loop of GWL + Mt. Laguna on Saturday. The "climbing" journey continues. (Kyle is going out to Valley of the Moon for some real climbing this weekend.)

I would like to add, that I got on my trainer for the first time this season. YUCK! I started out my what was supposed to be 45 mile ride and almost got blown off my bike by 35mph winds. I wasn't able to stay aero and it was supposed to be a recovery/slave to aerobar ride. That wasn't happening. So I went home, put on the latest roommate netflix, Mamma Mia, and pedaled no where. No mountains. Only sheer boredom and bad acting.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Desert Triathlon

Or were we in the rainforest? I'm not quite sure.

Rest week/Race week! What a change. 95 on the bike, 20 cranked out on the run, 1 measly swim mile. Under 10 hours. I cannot believe how fast this is going...yet how much more is left! 8 weeks, 2 more training blocks, 1 rest week and taper time. Now is when I have to dig in and get it done.A couple weeks ago the Triathlon Club of San Diego had the 2009 awards. I was very honored to be named the most improved female triathlete. I worked hard last year, coming back from injury even better than before...but I feel my time has yet to come. This year I can only hope to be better. Thanks to Coach Brian for the kind words...and so much more. He knows, I am putting in the time and now finally...seeing results.

Desert Triathlon Results:
4th AG, 13th Overall. 2:11.10
15:59 swim (2nd argh!)
1:06.16 bike (22.5 mph)
46:01 run (7:24/mile not really*)

Kyle and I arrived to the desert Saturday afternoon after a glorious morning of sleeping in and making french toast. Mmm. Checked in and headed to the campsite/race area. We met up with TCSD and LA Tri for a pasta dinner and back to camp to get set up. Tried our best to stay up past 9 so to get a good nights sleep. Had a nice campfire and jumped in the tents for a forecast of rain. Woke up to grey skies, but not a drip of rain all night. Sweet.Made our way to transition, set up and hung out. The sprint waves started an hour ahead of the international; annoying. No pictures to document, but Kyle set up the camp stove and made me oatmeal, in transition area. It was awesome! I love my sherpa. :)
Wetsuit on and ready to go. 8:36 and my wave was off. Not an eventful swim. Not hard, not easy. It was the usual run over the wave(s) ahead of us, turn the buoys, swim hard, find people to draft off, fail, find people drafting off me, turn buoy, hammer in. Run like hell to the timing mat, where I'm sure I'll get beat anyway. Why do they include run times during the swim?
Took Kermit out for a little spin. The rain started, and it didn't stop. Tried to keep pace during the ride. The wind wasn't bad at all. Pelting rain was a different story. It was a very flat/fast course despite the wet conditions. Had a gu and 200cal drink. But seriously, rain. Again? It's not even epic anymore. I think it'd be epic if it was sunny for once.
Kermit parked and Garmin on. Out for a couple loops around the lake and running. I felt good. For the first time ever, I felt good and almost great while running. I was shocking myself, and wondering when it was going to end, and how long I could hold this pace (that was faster than the coach and I agreed upon). Well it didn't end. *Pace according to the results was 7:24, but the run was short. Garmin came in at 5.78 miles (7:58pace). 8:15 was the goal pace. :) I was happy after the race. Not puking. So I guess I didn't try hard enough. :) But in all seriousness, it was a great race. Almost perfect actually. Looking forward to racing this distance with appropriate training. I had a rest week, but it was probably longer than a normal week for non-Ironman training.A big wet mess to pick up.
Rain. Transition area was soaked. Towel weighed 10lbs. Walked back to the car to get into some dry clothes, pack up, head out and get some food.
Thank you thank you Kyle, for yet again sherpa'ing me through a rainy adventure. Congrats to all the TCSD'ers out there! And thanks again for the award. :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Keep going...because you want to

I was reading professional triathlete Bree Wee's Blog (as the closet blog stalker in me tends to do). She is a regular poster, and always has amazing pictures of her life in Hawaii...and I'm always so jealous of her gorgeous underwater ocean shots (where it's warm enough to not wear a wetsuit!). Anyway, she's going through a hard training block getting ready for Ironman South Africa. In a recent post she ended with "Keep going...because you want to."

Because I want to.

I want to finish Ironman with a smile on my face. I want this training to become effortless...even if that makes it mundane. In the event of mundaneness, I will mix it up. But it takes effort to keep going. And because I want all of those things, I have to keep going.

If it's going to rain, I have to keep going.

Utah is under 9 weeks away; I have to keep going.

Keep on Keeping on - a usual workout week for Rachel:

Monday: Masters swim session (3500)
Tuesday: Brick, 50 mile tempo ride + 4 mile tempo run
Wednesday: 50 mile hilly ride
Thursday: Long Run 16 miles, 2000+ ft elevation gain
Friday: 2 mile ocean swim + Pannikin hot chocolate
Saturday: 6 mile tempo run in rain/wind
Sunday: 95 mile long ride + transition run

Now let's add in some fun:
Monday: 2x1hr swim lessons after masters
Tuesday: Night Snowboarding from 5-10pm at Mt. High for $15 with Chad
Wednesday: JCC volunteer swim coach
Thursday: Dashboard Confessional Concert at House of Blues
Friday: Olympics watching
Saturday: More Olympics/Dinner plans
Sunday: Shopping!

Now where does laundry, preparing meals, doing dishes, cleaning and relaxing fit in? I'm not sure I agree with any of those activities.

But I keep going, because I want to. If I didn't have all those secondary activities in my life then I'd just be a girl training for an Ironman. And while I see this is a daunting task, I don't want it to completely take over my life. Granted, I understand the time commitments, as the 17 hour workout weeks are here, but for my sanity, I cannot just swim/bike/run. So here's my fun:

Snowboarding at Mt. High. I swapped the Brooks running shoes and Nike cycling shoes for some Ride Snowboarding boots! Great snow and perfect weather. I also had the perfect shredding (laughing at myself) soundtrack thanks to an ice dance routine I saw during the Olympics. Linkin Park's Reanimaiton.

JCC coaching. I'll say it: sometimes I dread going. I've been up since the butt crack of dawn, worked 10 hours and all I really feel like doing is eating cereal and watching the Olympics. But I go, and every time I leave, I'm glad I went. It's so rewarding to give knowledge and see progression in beginners and returners. I truly love coaching.

Dashboard Concert. Awesome. Got some last minute tickets from a tri-clubber selling them on the list serv. Great concert and even a great opener: Ives the Band. Had fun with Kyle in the upper level, sharing the one seat left...that happened to have an amazing view.

Monday night I did my first F.I.S.T. fit alone! Erin just got a new bike and so we went through the fit process together... hopefully she enjoys it! And now she has no excuse and must beat me! Tonight was catch up night with Nikee. We had dinner at a great little place in Old Town called Blue Water.

So I'm trying. I'm doing my best at keeping up with training, staying relatively injury free, working, and having a life. Balance. It's tough. But I keep going because I want to.